“We are forlorn like children, and experienced like old men, we are crude and sorrowful and superficial…..” ― Erich Maria Remarque
Soldiers are the only lot that actually deserve the name ‘hero’. There is no country without an army and there’s no army without its soldiers. Let us take a moment in our busy little lives and think over the kind of experiences an Indian soldier has to go through in his/her life.
1. They are awestruck, overwhelmed, proud and happy (all bundled up together) at the first sight of the army academy
2. And then almost immediately it’s time for the traumatic haircut that breaks their heart into millions of pieces
Years and years of effort and expensive products crusing down the drain in a couple of minutes. I feel for you dude, but trust me, it’s worth it!
3. The stages of training that an Indian soldier goes through are more gruelling and bone crushing then you can ever imagine
Starting from early morning soldiers are initiated into intense physical and psychological training. The idea is to make them tougher, faster and more efficient. And the immediate goal is to habituate the soldiers into being physically and mentally alert at all goddamn times.
4. When they finally make it to battle field, they unanimously chant – “If death strikes before I prove my blood, I promise, I will kill death”
To put things in perspective, let me recount to you the story of a man – Jaswant Singh Rawat – who single-handedly baffled 300 Chinese soldiers. During the Indo-Chinese war in 1962 when Jaswant’s entire company retreated at the face of advancing Chinese army, he insisted on staying back.With the help of 2 Monpa tribal girls he kept the chinese army at bay for 3 whole days. When they eventually found out that they were being fooled by a single Indian soldier, they captured him. But by then Jaswant had shot himself in the head. We are proud of you lads!
5. And then comes the saddest of experiences when a soldier loses a comrade
6. Death, destruction, blood, wound, bullet holes – these images haunt them for as long as they live
7. Returning troops often suffer depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (aka PTSD) resulting from the horrible ordeal they’ve gone through in the battlefield
For war veterans PTSD occurs from traumatic incidents like mugging, being tortured, raped or being held captive. Soldiers suffering from PTSD become emotionally numb and are often driven to committing suicide. Poor souls!
8. The experience of washing away the unbearable guilt of having killed someone for the first time is something we’ll never know
But our dear soldiers understand that back home their loved one’s are counting on them, to keep them safe and sound.
9. So, off they go, marching to the front once again, vowing that they’ll return, either victorious or wrapped in the tricolour
10. And then one day they experience the joy of saving a comrade
11. For an Indian soldier, the stars on their shoulder are way too magnificent than the one’s in the distant sky
12. Letters become a significant part of their lives and the lives of their families
13. No matter what hardship they face, every time they view the DLTGH (days left to go home) marked on the calendar, their heart melts
14. Joys of returning home alive, to love, to embrace and to live is something most of us will never truly understand the way soldiers do
15. And no matter how happy and comfortable they are, no matter how much they love being home, when the motherland calls, they’ll rise without hesitation and march again to save the country
Long live the Indian soldiers!